September 28, 2014, 3:39 PM
By Minjae Park
WAYNE — The sun beamed brightly and the morning air stayed cool.
“Ideal,” said Jonathan Feigan, a track and field runner at Montclair State University, breathing quickly after finishing second at the Let’s Move Day 5K run.
More than 150 runners came out on Sunday for the run, which is hosted by the Wayne Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Ratzer Road. Aimed at promoting healthful eating and exercise, it began three years ago in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, said Delma Avila, a church member and director of the race.
At the finish line just outside the church, runners picked up bananas and educational material highlighting the need for more physical activity and healthier diets. A poster from the non-profit Institute of Medicine notes, for example, that 30 to 40 percent of children eat fast food on a given day and rates of walking to work have declined in recent decades.
Pastor Eduardo Monteiro greeted runners with bottles and cups of water.
“It’s great to see my pastor at the end of that,” said Michael Meliti of Franklin Lakes. Out of breath, he added jokingly, “I might need a doctor with a pastor.”
Monteiro said pushing the message of staying healthy was partly rooted in his religion.
“Human beings are made of the physical, the mental and the spiritual powers that God has given us,” he said. “If we take care of one of the aspects of what we are made of, we are missing the point.”
Inside the church, children ages 3 to 10 also participated in physical activities, like stretching, hopping, running and passing through an obstacle course.
For the runners, the hilly terrain proved their biggest hurdle.
Lori Miskovitz of Fair Lawn said she stopped midway up a hill. “One got me,” she said.
Ken Dobler of Fair Lawn, who came with Miskovitz, said on a flatter course, he could’ve shaved 15 seconds from the 7 minutes 20 seconds he took to run a mile.
“The hill is a killer,” he said.